Art Heist With A Happy Ending

BY ArtCoWo Press ©  12 - 14 - 15

N.C. Wyeth, the famous illustrator's works that were stolen back in 2013 from a private collectors unoccupied apartment have been recovered and returned safely back to the owner. Four of the six works were attempted to be sold to a Pawn Shop in Beverly Hills when FBI became aware of the back door swindle. N.C.Wyeth, known for illustrating such classics as "Treasure Island" and "The Last of the Mohicans" settled in Chadds Ford, Pa and created a "Painter's World" for him and his family. He is widely regarded as an American Storyteller with pictures rather than words.

Two of the remaining works stolen were recovered in Boston still in their original frames. Art Heists make for great movies and books but the reality is that art thieves usually have a hard time unloading the stolen goods. The black market for famous realistic stolen art or any stolen art for that matter is not so good these days.

Sinking as low as to try to pawn them at a Beverly Hills Pawn shop after failing to sell them to a "quiet" art collector would be the tip off the FBI needed to find the works and their thieves. One of the would be participants, who may have stolen the work in this caper was an aspiring Rapper from Los Angeles. He was looking for a $100,00.00 loan. This is a happy ending for Art History, Wyeth fans, the fine art world and the private collector. The actual projection of price for these works is uncertain even by experts as prices for traditional American painters do not fair well at auctions these days. The price actually paid for this genre of work can yield anywhere from a couple hundred thousand to well over a million. Traditional artwork has gone out of favor with the art collector masses. Not to say their isn't a market as a whole but pieces of this nature are usually trumped by modern and contemporary art works.

The only good that has come out of this ordeal is that the six actual works that were stolen will now be on loan from time to time at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine bringing Wyeth fans and the general public closer to the beauty of these recovered masterpieces. They are on view at PMA until Jan 3rd 2016. Wyeth was influenced by the rugged, rough and tumble beauty of Maine and him and his family often spent summers there. That exhibtion is entitled The Great N.C. Wyeth Caper: Paintings by America's Storyteller, the art heist is considered to be of the one of largest thefts of private property in Maine's history.

Significant work recovered; N.C.Wyeth (U.S., 1882-1945), Would the Clock Never Strike? Nerves were snapping, but faces gave no hint of it,1922,oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 40 1/4 inches. Private collection, 9.2015.6

Ref: Portland Musuem of Art's website



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